Spring is the time when the birds get busy with the oncoming breeding season. Bird song and nest building stir up a flurry of activity in our gardens.
After some patient egg incubation, parent birds spend every daylight hour collecting food for their young and around two weeks later the fledglings will have developed most of their feathers and become very mobile, able to walk, run and hop around in the low branches. Although they are now out of the nest the fledglings continue to be fed by their parents who are rarely far away collecting food. It can be easy to assume fledglings have been abandoned and indeed they are at risk from predators at this time until their flight feathers have fully developed.
If a fledgling is found it is always best to observe from a distance, more often than not the parent will be nearby and intermittently bringing in food (each species has its own specific diet). Occasionally younger chicks with no or little feather development are found and there can be several reasons for this, fallen nests, predators such as the domestic cat or even the parent bird itself pushing a youngster from its nest if it senses some form of abnormality with normal development. In the event of an obvious injury a bird can be placed in a small cardboard box with a few small air holes, the darkness of the box aids in keeping a bird calm, take note as to where the bird was found so in the event of its release, it can be returned to the same area. Take the box straight to a vet who can assess the nature of an injury and treat it accordingly.
Veterinary practices also have access to specialist carers for birds in need of rehabilitation. If in any doubt, its best to watch and wait a little longer, it just might be that another beady eye is watching with you.